Author's Note: With the Legion expansion and the lore that came with it, I could not resist writing an alternate ending to the one Blizz intends to give us. I have tried to stick with most of the canon so it reads like a real book from Blizz. But, alas, I'm human and expect I will have made errors/misrepresentations despite my long hours researching the backstories of my characters and the huge history of Azeroth. I hope any mistakes will not take away your enjoyment of the story. If they are really glaring, please do let me know by PM so I can work on fixing them. I wrote Into the Light over 28 days during NaNoWriMo 2016. I do hope you will enjoy it.
Disclaimer: All characters and the universe of this Warcraft fanfic (apart from Idira who is my own creation) are from the MMORPG World of Warcraft and are owned by Blizzard Entertainment. Only the story crafted into it is mine.
Awards & Accolades
**Winner of The Wing Awards on wattpad (June 4, 2017)**
**Finalist of the Good as Gold Award for Fantasy on wattpad (Jan 29, 2017)**
**Top 20 finalist in The Pursuit of Excellence Awards on wattpad (Mar 20, 2017)**
**Selected by wattpad HQ to be a Featured Story (April 5, 2017)**
Illidan opened his eyes. Nothing. He cursed. No sound came. He screamed. Silence. He withdrew, and felt himself shrink until he was no bigger than a speck. He spread out, and let himself extend across the vastness of the Twisting Nether. So this was how it was to be. His fight against the Burning Legion had finally ended. He had become a spirit, a formless, silenced entity. Isolated, lost and alone he would remain there until his spirit succumbed to the glacial pressures of the infinite realm and fragmented, to be remade into another being in the realm of the living.
He felt the pressures beginning to pull on him, tearing at him. No. It was too soon. It should take an aeon to come apart, he knew enough to know the Twisting Nether allowed the dead plenty of time to suffer the horror of their wrongs, imprisoned in its oppressive silence. And he, the one called The Betrayer knew he had much to account for. He had expected to suffer for longer than most.
There. Again. A tug, harsh, jarring. It burned, cold. How? He turned, searching for the source. It came again. Waves of searing cold crashed over him. He screamed, shuddering. This was not the Twisting Nether's doing. This, whatever it was—was something else.
He shivered. It was so cold. When did it become so cold? He blinked, astonished. Colour stained the edge of his vision, creeping inwards. No. Impossible. Not even he, with his enhanced demonic abilities could see in this realm. But he was seeing. He stared at the sinuous streaks of blue, green, red and gold surrounding him, drifting past in epochal silence. The time streams.
Fascinated, he pulled himself toward the nearest one. He reached out for it. Of course. He had no form. He was nothing. Nothing more than thought, and consciousness, everything he was, all that he had been, amounting to nothing more than this.
His vision widened, expanding, spreading. He gaped, stunned. The vastness of the Nether staggered him. Planets floated by, forming and disintegrating, spinning away and returning in the blink of an eye. There was no time here, no structure, it was chaos. He couldn't stand it. He closed his eyes. Everything remained. He screamed. It was too much. He couldn't make it stop. He clawed at his face, but he had no face, he had no hands.
The cold returned, pinpoints, tiny ice-cold daggers digging deep into his being, anchoring there, tugging hard in all directions. Nothing the Wardens had done to him—not even their darkest, most malicious of punishments—could compare to this. He sobbed, like a child, crying out, begging for it to cease. But no one could hear him. The tugging continued, and a part of him pulled free, attached to a green tether. The tether whipped away into the Nether, taking a part of his being with it, the tether thrashed, suffering its own throes of agony as it retreated into the distance.
The pain ended. He curled up into a ball, rotating slowly as the planets and time streams carried on their endless passages through time and space. He slept, for how long, he couldn't say. The pain came again, the cold burying deep within him. Another tether left him. He crawled after it, suffering, weeping, following its retreat, determined to know what was happening to him. The tethers came and left, one after another. Each time, he followed, moving a little closer to where they were coming from. He toiled after the tethers as tiny pieces of his being left him—until he found it—a dark portal limned in foul green. The Burning Legion. He drifted as close to it as he dared. A voice, cold, and abrasive gnawed its way into him.
Ah. You have found me. Then, let us begin.
Illidan snarled. Begin what?
Touch the portal, and you will see.
Illidan scoffed. The fool didn't realise he could not touch anything. A tether snapped out of the darkness, and took hold of him. He recoiled, but this time it didn't hurt. He watched, incredulous as it pulled on him. More tethers flashed out, grappling onto him. A chuckle, dark and sinister echoed from the opposite side.
He could feel himself stretching, widening, filling up more and more space. The tethers pulled on him, tugging, wrapping him in a cocoon of fel energy. It was slow, agonising. The tethers pulled away. He held up his hands, examining them, incredulous. He touched his legs and torso. He was whole again, but not as a demon hunter, as Illidan, the night elf, before the Skull of Gul'dan transformed him. Why would he take this shape, and not his own? Nothing made any sense.
Now. Touch the portal.
Unable to stop himself, he brushed his fingers against the inky, viscous darkness. It felt warm.
See with my eyes. Your destiny.
A flash of burning light. Blinded again. He cursed, pressing his palm against his eye sockets, trying to ease the pain. His senses acclimatised. The dwindling flames of a burning city. Suramar. Reduced to ash. His home. No. He turned. Everywhere, fire, smoke, and demons. The grass, trees, animals, birds, even the rivers and seas were gone. Nothing had been spared. Only rock remained. Across the wasteland, the demon hordes gather, waiting for Gul'dan to open a portal to another world, paid for with the souls of the last of the living prisoners. Their cries are silenced; the portal is ready. A new world awaits; fresh, green, and verdant with life, reminding Illidan of the days of his youth, before the arrival of the Burning Legion.
Speaking in demonic, he, a towering dreadlord, orders the Legion through the portal, to cleanse the next world in the name of his master, Sargeras. They roar, rushing into it, hungry, endless. A flutter in the hot, dry air catches his eye. A body, crumpled, lays atop the others, just one of many, sacrificed for the portal's opening.
Something feels familiar about this one. Curious, he approaches, the ground quaking under his enormous weight. Bending over, he snatches the body, tiny and fragile from the pile of the dead. Within his scaly grip, a female night elf—her once regal gown tattered and filthy—hangs limp, her long green hair falling over her face. With the flick of his claw, her hair falls aside. He laughs, Illidan, but not Illidan, and tosses the body back onto the heap, where it lands, broken. Without looking back, he enters the portal, and leaves Azeroth, vanquished, and lifeless.
The images fade. Something cold grips his hand within the portal.
You are the Chosen One, through you Sargeras will live again. Now, come to me.
Horrified, Illidan snatched his hand away, panting. No matter what, he would not become that thing. Whatever it would take, however much he would have to suffer, he would not succumb. He fled the portal, until the planets and time streams became nothing more than a smear of colour.
He stopped. He had gone far, but not far enough. So long as he was in the Twisting Nether, he was trapped. Gul'dan would be searching for him, and before long he would find him again. He wouldn't let Illidan escape a second time.
Illidan thought of the one his future self had discarded so carelessly, his demonic heart cold and filled with darkness. But that was not him, at least not yet. Gul'dan intended to bring Illidan back from the dead to be the avatar of the Dark Titan. Illidan shuddered. Against Sargeras, Azeroth, and all within it would fall, including the one he still loved.
He floated, restless, his form glimmering each time a time stream flowed through him. A thought rose up. Perhaps he was not as helpless as he believed. In his arrogance, Gul'dan had done Illidan a favour. He had given him form, and via that filthy portal, Illidan now had a connection to Azeroth.
He closed his eyes and concentrated. He could feel Gul'dan's tendrils reaching across the void, searching, relentless. He ignored them. He thought of the woman, hanging limp in his grip. Anger burned within him, hot, powerful, indomitable. He pressed it down into a tiny spot, compressing it until it was just a speck, dense, laden with his intention. He let it go, and called to her.
"Tyrande. I need your Light. I cannot fight this alone."
He flew backwards, grunting, as a wall of sound hit him. Gul'dan, the fool, had given him his voice back.
Illidan smiled. This fight was not over. The next time Gul'dan found him, he would be prepared.